Athens

Athens Travel Guide

Credit :

Wendy Ball & Dara Albanese

Named for Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and courage, the proud marble columns of Athens – once the most powerful city in ancient Greece – mirror the fortitude of the goddess herself. Athens was the birthplace of democracy, theater, and Western civilization, and the city's cultural richness and history is evident in its architecture. Majestic, strong, and purely white, the sturdy columns of the Parthenon, which crowns the city, give travelers a glimpse into Athens' architectural perfection; this symbol of classic architecture continues to hover over the city and is one of many reasons tourists visit Athens in droves. Travel to Athens is a must for history and archeology buffs, but the city's hillsides and picturesque vistas will be equally appreciated by nature lovers. Our Athens travel guide will help you navigate the many riches of Athens.

Things Not to Miss in Athens

When you visit Athens, be sure to take in the city's legendary historical sites, including:

• The Acropolis

• The Parthenon

• The Temple of Hephaestus

• The National Archeological Museum

• The Ancient Agora

• Mount Lycabettus

When to Go to Athens

Athens is sunny and warm year-round; consequently, it is a destination that can be visited at any time of the year. Most tourists choose to visit Athens during the spring and fall, when the temperatures are at their most agreeable. Though the month of August can be quite hot, hotel rates tend to drop during this time, and the streets are quieter. Likewise, winter brings fewer visitors. Some tourists may prefer to travel to Athens during these off seasons, when they can savor the city in relative peace.

DON'T MISS

  • A stroll inside the Syntagma Square (a.k.a. Constitution Square) metro station, where artifacts uncovered during the building of the subway, from skeletons to pre-Christian plumbing, are displayed.
  • The changing of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Syntagma Square’s pink Parliament Building. Every Sunday at 11 a.m., the Evzone guards—soldiers chosen for their height and, it’s rumored, good looks—in ceremonial dress (yes, that means a pleated skirt and pom-pom-toed shoes) perform an elaborately choreographed ceremony.
  • Wandering the alleys of Anafiotika, a whitewashed, 19th-century village along the northern slope of the Acropolis that was built by refugees from the Cycladic island of Anafi. It’s a quiet, homey oasis in the heart of teeming Athens.

RECOMMENDED LINKS

For hotels near the Athens airport, visit NileGuide

Articles about Athens

Built in 1870, the cliff-edge saltwater swimming pool of the Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc in the south of France has been the centerpiece of that fabled celebrity resort for more than 80 years. Clark Gable bronzed himself on its sun beds; Brigitte Bardot...
Stay True to the hotel's name, the 11 modern rooms at the new Ochre & Brown Boutique Hotel (7 Leokoriou St.; 30-210/331-2950; ochreandbrown.com; doubles from $230) are swathed in earthy colors and brightened with accents of bright red, orange, a...
Africa/Middle East Q: What about Dubai? I’ve been to Al Manzil which was excellent. where else can I stay? Sarah Spagnolo: Well, I can’t stop thinking about the Burj Al Arab. It’s such a landmark in the UAE. Q: I am going to agree with you! Than...
The Local Diet In ancient mythology, the gods ate ambrosia to gain Herculean strength and immortality, and it was Hippocrates who first suggested, circa 400 B.C., “let food be thy medicine.” Today, ordinary citizens of Greece follow that same phi...
Greenland & Iceland Why Go Now: New luxury expeditions to these remote areas allow cruisers to take in scenery from the ship as well as jump in Zodiacs to explore further, says Claudia Gordon from Betty Maclean Travel. Her top sites: the lava ...
Since 1990, Mrs. Tependris, the always fashionable protagonist of L.A.-based artist Konstantin Kakanias's boldly illustrated graphic novels, has been on a mission: to find happiness and purpose without sacrificing her impeccabl...
See our slideshow of the Best Hotel Art Collections. New York City ’s Gramercy Park Hotel is a modern Gothic fantasy, with plush crimson velvets, carved-wood furniture, and baronial fireplaces as well as access to the private roof club and über-e...
q. We'd like to go on a literary tour of the English countryside. -- M.W., Denver, Colo. a. If such sites as Virginia Woolf's Knole House, Vita Sackville-West's Sissinghurst, and D. H. Lawrence's hometown of Eastham are what you have in mind, co...
Ever dreamt of sailing the Neva to visit the czars' summer palace?Or cruising the Rhine, stopping for tastings at vineyards all along the way?Somewhere between traveling by land and by sea lies a blissful medium. It's now possible to sail Europe's...
In homage to Gerald Durrell, who wrote Marrying Off Mother and My Family and Other Animals, both set in Corfu, I visited that Greek island with my mother—who, like Durrell's, was in no mood to be married off—and her dog, a brindle-...